Smiles all round at close of Everest Build III

Within next month, 36 families will move into decent and affordable homes built of woven bamboo and cement plaster walls

Habitat home partners Sanu B.K. (far left) and Sharada Pariyar (right) help to build their own houses.

BANGKOK (November 21, 2014) – Wide grins on the faces of new home owners, partners, volunteers and staff marked the end of Everest Build III in Nepal on Friday. Fresh from house dedications and handovers, more than 500 people gathered in a colorful tent in the new community of Amiliya, in Chitwan district, for the formal ceremony that closed the five-day build event. Standing proud, 36 homes built of woven bamboo and cement plaster walls, with zinc roofs glinting in the sunshine, provided the perfect backdrop for the festivities.

As they waved goodbye to the international volunteers, Habitat for Humanity partner families reflected on the activities of the week. Among them was 41-year-old Sharada Pariyar: “Had my family members and I weaved woven bamboo ourselves, it would have taken two to three months. They [the volunteers] all did it in two days.”

Sharada has already started making plans for her families’ future: “My husband, daughter and I are tailors. I want to start a small tailoring business on the patio of my home and sew clothes for the community. I will be able to cater to the needs of my neighbors and earn a living.”

(Top from left) Australian volunteer Wendy Johnstone with her mother Anne Robinson and her daughter Laura; (Center, left) Tuakana Wichman from New Zealand; (center, right) newly weds Jeffrey and Suzanne Anderson from the U.S.; (Bottom) Kendra Lancaster from the U.S.

Within the next month, families will take up residence in their new homes, shifting from their nearby makeshift structures into safe, decent and affordable homes.

“The authorities threatened to demolish our houses. I spent my days and nights worrying where my family and I would go. Now I have a house of my own and nobody can demolish it,” said Sanu B.K., 36. Sanu and her family of six had been living in a one-room house.

International volunteers, drawn from 16 countries, shared their joy. Joining her daughter Wendy, 46, and granddaughter Laura, 20, on their first first-ever Habitat build, Anne Robinson, 70, said: “It’s been an absolute revelation. This is communities helping communities. You hand out money but usually never see how it’s being spent. This is personal.”

Joining Anne, Wendy and Laura in the volunteer team from Australia were local celebrities, Lisa Lamond and Adam Dovile, recent winners of House Rules.

Working on another house, were newlyweds Suzanne and Jeffrey Anderson, who asked for donations to Habitat for Humanity instead of wedding gifts. Their Everest Build III experience formed part of their honeymoon.

Also from the US, although currently living in Abu Dhabi, was Kendra Lancaster, a member of the US Paralympic volleyball team. She said: “The build has been very special for me. Whenever I travel, I buy souvenirs to remember the place. But here I have so many memories and I got an opportunity to understand the culture and people better.”

The largest contingent of international volunteers came from New Zealand. In their team, 82-year-old Tuakana Wichman, summed up the week: “The families can’t build homes with the little money they earn. We build the house up, and then it grows. I want to come back. It’s in my heart to do it.”

Next year Nepal will host Habitat for Humanity’s 32nd annual Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project. Scheduled to take place from 1 to 6 November 2015, former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, will lead around 2,000 volunteers to build homes.

Often referred to as Habitat for Humanity’s ‘most famous volunteers’, President and Mrs. Carter give a week of their time each year to help Habitat build, renovate or repair homes in order to shed light on the critical role decent housing plays in providing a path out of poverty.

For more information on how to volunteer for the 2015 Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project, please visit

To view more photos of the build week, visit .